How To Freeze Fresh Broccoli

The addition of our mini greenhouse afforded me the opportunity to grow broccoli this year.  I couldn’t be more happy since it’s one of our favorite vegetables.  If I could change one thing about the growing process, it would be that I was able to grow it for a longer season.

Since I can’t however, my main goal this year was to grow a lot and preserve what we didn’t eat fresh.  So far, that has meant I must freeze broccoli from my greenhouse for later use.

It’s a really easy process, and I’m so excited to start filling my freezer.

To start, make sure you are harvesting strong and healthy stalks and florets from your garden.  There is definitely a difference between the taste of frozen broccoli from the store and that which you will freeze fresh from your garden. Broccoli tastes best when harvested while the flowers are still tight and closed.

How to freeze fresh broccoli.

Bring your broccoli in and clean it right away.  I like to soak mine in cold water with a bit of salt in it just to make sure all the bugs I can’t see are good and dead. Shake your broccoli off and give it an additional rinse, and then you’re ready to cut it up.

I cut mine into the size I want it to be when I use it.

After the broccoli is cleaned and cut, it’s time to blanch it.  Blanching stops the enzymes present from breaking down the plant after harvested.  It also helps to preserve the color of the broccoli.

Bring a pot of water to a good boil, and put your broccoli in for 3 minutes (if your altitude is above 5000 feet like me, you’ll want to add one minute).  After 3 minutes, carefully pull your broccoli out and place it in ice cold water for another 3 minutes.

After 3 minutes in the ice-water, pull your broccoli out.  Place it in a strainer if possible, or a towel to dry off.

How to freeze fresh broccoli.

Once your broccoli is dry, place it in a single layer on a flat sheet making sure the pieces don’t touch each other and place in your freezer.

After an hour or so, you should be able to remove the broccoli from the sheet and store one of two ways:

  • Freezer bags:  Label your freezer bag, and place broccoli inside.  If you know the exact amount of broccoli you will use for each recipe, freeze it in smaller bags of this measurement.  Since I don’t have all my broccoli meals planned out yet, I store it in gallon sized bags.  Since each piece was frozen separately, it will be easy to remove just the amount I need each time.  Fill the bag 3/4 full and roll down to remove as much air as possible before sealing.
  • Food Saver bags:  For longer food storage, fill food saver bags quickly while the broccoli is still frozen.  Immediately store in your freezer once sealed. Remember that food saver bags don’t reseal easily once opened when employing this method.  Unless you will use a lot of broccoli each time you open a bag, you’ll want to make sure to seal in smaller increments this way.

There's nothing like freezing fresh broccoli straight from your garden!

I find for our home that regular gallon freezer bags work best.  If we had grown a lot more than we had or knew we wouldn’t use it as often as we will, perhaps I would use the Food Saver bags.

 

15 Comments

  1. O my gosh! Love, love, love broccoli! I can’t wait to plant some this year and taste the difference. I will have enough room to plant quite a bit, so this will come in handy. Thank you so much for posting this.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your technique. Can’t wait to try it! Can you tell us on the Freezer Bag method, how long do you think the broccoli can stay in the freezer before freezer-burn occurs? Same question for the Food Saver Bags method?

    Thank you!

    • Nance,
      I’m not sure on time. I use a deep freeze to store mine in, so they last about 6 months in there before we run out. I’ve never had them long enough for them to go bad or get burned.
      If you’re using a standard freezer (attached to your refrigerator), then the time would be greatly shortened (my general rule is to divide the time by 4). If you’re using Food Saver bags, I’d count on another month or two. Again, these are just my guesses.
      Let me know if you time it, as I’m curious as well.

  3. Awesome! I have a deep freeze as well, so thank you so much. My husband refuses to eat broccoli, so it’s only me by my lonesome that will be working through the frozen broccoli. But that’s ok, broccoli is my absolute favorite veggie…so within 6 months won’t be a problem at all. Thank you, again, for your wonderful post!!!!!

  4. Do you find that your broccoli gets mushy? Everytime I freeze broccoli it gets mushy. What do you suppose I am doing wrong? TIA

    • It’s not mushy, but it is soft from the blanching. Are you using fresh broccoli, and steaming it before freezing it? I think those are the most important steps. Also, if you aren’t putting it into ice-water immediately after boiling, then it could continue to cook (and soften).
      Lastly, when you are ready to use it, I’d definitely cook with it just as soon as it’s defrosted. I haven’t tried it, but I assume if you let it defrost and then sit in the refrigerator for much time, it would get mushy.

      • I am super excited to try this… my farmer husband also dislikes broccoli but I can get him to eat fresh broccoli so we grew some this year… our heads are really producing right now and I wanted to put some away but I was in sure how …I really hope this works for me

  5. Samantha Hoover

    July 23, 2018 at 7:41 am

    When storing the broccoli do you have to use bags or can you use freezer containers with lids?

  6. I think those who tried it and it turned to mush, boiled it for three minutes instead of just letting it set there. Second time around for me and it is doing fine

  7. Thanks for sharing how to freeze broccoli. I was given a large amount and didn’t want to throw away. My little one loves broccoli.

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